We are on our way to the Abel Tasman National Park, but we have some time to spare, so I googled Mapua cycle hire and found offers for cycling – you could combine a cycle hire with a ferry to Rabbit Island which sounds a perfect way to spend the day.
At the Mapua wharf we find Lisa Mann and her bikes – seemingly waiting just for us! Along with partner Nicky McBride Lisa runs Wheelie Fantastic cycle hire You decide we provide… While they are often based on the wharf, they have equipment and hire packages to suit all budgets, and support people on the the Tasman Great Taste Cycleway, which covers over 150 kms of trails around the Nelson and Tasman area.
The Rabbit Island trip is part of this cycleway, but I am thinking it would be great to come back and do the rest.
The ferry goes on the hour, it is 2pm, Lisa runs off to get the ferry to wait, we quickly grab two bikes and ride onto the ferry which is purpose built for carrying bikes.
Andrew Schwass runs the Mapua Ferry – this is their second season running with this purpose built boat. It is a short crossing, but very tidal with a strong tidal pull – they also hire bikes.
The bike trail on rabbit island is also new – opened just before Christmas, and part of the one of the 19 great rides funded by John Keys NZ cycle trail project.
Its an easy ride in top gear most of the way, through pine forest, with only the very occasional large tree root or soft sand to slow us down. Front beach is a picture – beautiful sandy beach and no one in sight. Wish we had longer to spend, but something is better than nothing.
The ferry ride back is at low tide, and we spy some of the local wildlife
- Oyster catchers in abundance
- One nude sunbather (I am later told that Mapua has quite a strong historical naturist tradition)
- Up the estuary further are the magnificent royal spoonbills.
Mapua Wharf is a fabulous place to spend some time – we bought a gorgeous real fruit ice cream, and had a lovely hour wandering around the shops.
- GrouponNZ offers good deals, coupons and discounts for Ferry transport